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Tue 4 Feb 2020 09:05 AM

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What links Monaco and penguins? Find out at Expo 2020 Dubai

The principality on the French Riviera will have sections of its pavilion dedicated to robotic penguins and 3D printed tropical corals

What links Monaco and penguins? Find out at Expo 2020 Dubai

Monaco Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

Monaco may be known for its Formula One Grand Prix, casinos and wealthy residents but its pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai will include dedicated sections focusing on robotic penguins and 3D printed tropical corals, in order to reflect the principality’s rulers’ love of the ocean and climate protection.

Last week initial plans for the Monaco pavilion were outlined at a meeting of its key partners and stakeholders. It was revealed that the pavilion will have a number of key stations, including Penguins, Digital Transition, Portier Cove, Explorations, Tropical Corals, Interactive Bench and Art & Culture.

Monaco, which is the second smallest country in the world after the Vatican and has a population of less than 40,000, has long had a strong connection to the ocean and the protection of marine life.

In an interview with Arabian Business this week, Albert Croesi, managing director of Monaco Inter Expo (MIE), outlined the country’s lesser-known links to the flightless birds:

What is the connection between penguins and Monaco? 

Albert Croesi: First of all, the connection is Monaco’s commitment to the ocean as it faces the Mediterranean and our landmark, the Rock of Monaco, is turned towards the sea and large maritime areas. The current commitment of Prince Albert II of Monaco for the Ocean strengthens the powerful link that unites the Principality and the marine environment and increases its international influence. 

In the last 150 years, Prince Albert I (1848-1922) and then Prince Rainier III (1923-2005) have also forged and strengthened that link through their commitment and their strong action for the ocean. 

The penguin station illustrates the years of climate research conducted by the Centre Scientifique de Monaco. This centre based in Monaco is connected with a strong international network where they have been studying the polar environment through the penguin population. 

The station will be composed of three areas, an exhibition of “robotic baby penguins”, an interactive game and a baby penguin zone intended for children that is equipped with screens and earphones.

The target of the zones is to draw adults and children’s attention to penguin survival with engaging games. Scientific research has shown that penguin survival chances decrease by 10 percent each time the water temperature increases by 0.3 degrees C, some alarming studies say that the population could entirely disappear by 2100. 

What is the connection between tropical corals and Monaco? 

Croesi: Since 1980, the Ocenographic Nuseum, the Centre Scientifique de Monaco, The Albert II foundation and Monaco exploration have combined forces to generate public awareness and proactively work towards preserving the coral reef. The biological research of the Centre Scientifique de Monaco (CSM) will be highlighted in the coral station with coral skeleton in windows and integrated glass magnifiers plus a 3D of a coral polyp.

Through the CSM, Monaco is actively putting together an action plan on how to protect the coral reef for the past 30 years. The CSM owns the most impressive living coral in their laboratories and has been intensely studying them to understand how coral reefs react to global warming and ocean acidification.

How do different elements of the pavilion represent the theme of sustainability? 

Croesi: The main polygonal shape of the pavilion makes prominent use of photovoltaic panels that span over 300 square metres, whereas the indoor scenography will demonstrate the eco-friendly governance of Monaco and its many actions to protect the environment, under the will of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II. 

The station, dedicated to the Anse du Portier among others, will also show the maritime extension of Monaco territory. The pavilion will present all the caution that Monaco takes in their underwater building process to protect the environment. 

As the project has been designed to fit into the environment and especially respect the marine environment, it will acquire environmental certifications such as Biodivercity Label, BREEAM, HQE Development, Port Clean Label, etc.

The Monaco pavilion has 100 people working on its construction and will include begin installation of the interior works in June. The organisers have designed it to be able to accommodate around 50,000 visitors a week, or 1.25 million people over the course of the six-month event.

Expo 2020 will run from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021 and it is estimated the event will attract 25 million visits, with around 70 percent coming from overseas. A total of 192 countries have confirmed they will be taking part in the event.